Paul Johnston bounces back with "The Death List" and a bumper pack of London-based crime fiction that feels a bit like a BOGOF (buy one get one free) deal, all rolled into one. The novel spreads to all the corners of contemporary crime fiction and it's long, perhaps too long at 427 pages, but its page-turning momentum cannot be denied, all the way to the end.
In a nutshell: our hero, author Matt Wells has been dumped by his ambitious and professional City-working wife, his uppity literary agent and finally, his publisher; but he has one fan of his novels who remains in contact via email. The Devil has appreciated his historical novels, more than most, but he also has another reason for staying in touch with Wells. This fan likes crime fiction and wants to make it real, first picking off from his own "Death List" and then working on what he perceives as Wells's own revenge "Death List". He very cleverly enrolls Wells in his killing endeavours, with no obvious way out. It becomes a game of cat and mouse with Wells implicated as an accomplice, where the Devil has Wells writing his story. Can Wells escape from this from this veritable gorefest, and how?